By Ovunc Kutlu
ANKARA (AA) - Crude oil prices were up on Wednesday as new coronavirus cases have slowed in China, easing worries and supporting oil demand.
International benchmark Brent crude was trading at $55.02 per barrel at 0641 GMT for a 1.4% increase after ending the previous session at $54.26 a barrel.
American benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) was at $50.62 a barrel at the same time for a 1% gain after closing Tuesday at $50.12 per barrel.
The death toll in China from the coronavirus outbreak has increased to 1,114, from 1,017 the previous day, according to the country’s National Health Commission on Wednesday.
The number of new cases at 97 marked the slowest growth rate since Jan. 31, according to the commission's data.
The decline in new cases has forged investor optimism that crude demand in the world's second biggest oil consumer could rebound while limiting the virus' impact in Asian countries and the global economy.
In addition, hopes of OPEC extending or deepening its crude production cut at the beginning of March also supports oil prices.